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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
IMA Mathematics 2011 – Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications (IMA), London, UK, April 2011
Article Type: News, conferences and technical reports From: Kybernetes, Volume 40, Issue 9/10
This conference has now become a much sort after annual event. Indeed, it has become a major conference on mathematics and its applications that is highly relevant to the present day.
It was held, once again, at Saddlers’ Hall, Gutter Lane, London, a most attractive venue with fascinating links to the past.
The aim of the conference was to bring together people with an interest in mathematics and its applications to consider current issues in the subject. This inevitably included those of us who believe it is essential for modern researchers and developers to be aware of the latest advances in the many topics and studies that depend upon a mathematical approach. Indeed, without such knowledge it would be very difficult for cyberneticians, systemists and management scientists to understand and contribute to their chosen discipline.
The conference topics covered research topics in mathematics; the public understanding of mathematics; and industrial and other applications of mathematics.
It opened with an introduction by Mike Walker which was followed by the keynote speech on “Statistics in the retail financial services sector” (David Hands). This led to a lively presentation by Heather Tewkesbury on “Industrial relations”.
Amongst the wide range of applications that have been discussed at previous conferences it was of value to hear how mathematics contributes to the development of health equipment. Steve King from Rolls Royce, gave a quick tour of mathematical techniques that have been used in supporting future equipment management. He outlined the methods used for examining mathematical techniques which included an assessment of the value of health monitoring; the detection of abnormal and monitoring thresholds, and advance pattern researches.
He also discussed the role of modelling in this area. Celia Hoyles considered “Tackling the mathematical potential and challenges” in a later session. She wanted to encourage a “mathematical way of thinking” within the teaching and learning of mathematics. We should, she said, need to be able to detect consistency, relationship and connections when teaching or applying mathematical approaches. Student dynamic models were discussed and we were told that often we are unaware of the mathematical models underlying a system.
Several other presentations considered “Seeing the world with mathematical eyes” (Steve Humble); “Mathematics in Sport” (David Percy); and Mike Walker and Alan Steven’s session on “IMA in 2011, including the launch of the IMA web site”. Perhaps, Dr Ben Evans (Swansea University, Wales) caught the interest and imagination with his presentation “Designing Bloodhound SSC – the 1000 mph car”. The design team’s goal was a simple one – to inspire the young in mathematics. This was one project in which the results could be clearly seen and its success to date was indeed commended. It has got young people, and indeed those who are older, to study mathematics and engineering. The project did, of course, involve complex aerodynamics, mathematics of models of airflow and the definition of the required equations.
All these presented topics were of great interest to both mathematicians and those working with mathematics in so many varied areas of endeavour. The conference was at pains to address the impact of the work being done rather than dwell upon the details of its technical nature.
This is a conference which once again, gave its participants an opportunity for informal discussions between people who were interested in a great variety of areas of mathematics.
This alone justified the much-appreciated efforts of the conference organisers of the IMA who had prepared such a stimulating and instructive programme.